that will teach me to be content (hubby with a broken heart)

so we go off to the hospital to see how broken hearted hubby actually is.  We are fairly confident it will be something simple, something easily fixed.  We were perhaps a tad optimistic. It would seem all is not good.  It was one of those occasions when a doctor who is called a Mr explains patiently all the possibles and none of them are particularly good.

All is not lost, hubby is booked in for a raft of tests, thank goodness for the NHS, we would never be able to afford what is on offer, and once tested, scanned and screened we will all know a bit more about what is going on.  Best case is that medicine will do the job, followed by the possibility of surgery down the line, really it doesn’t matter as long as he is fixable.

Hearts are good things to go wrong.  From my experience of almost sixty years ago, there is much known, and much skill in this area.  He is in good hands.

We make our way back to this, our once special place, which is feeling a bit different these days.  I am panicking about being so far from friends and family while dealing with this latest trauma, hubby is reflective and together we are individually trying to get used to what we have heard and how it might affect our new life.

I still feel in shock, it doesn’t seem long since we were living an ordinary life, working, making a home and enjoying life without much thought.  Now less than three months later, here we are.

Obviously the only thing we need to think about is getting him well, but it all seems really difficult. I thought I had learned lessons over this time, but now I feel that there is more that the universe needs us to know.  What other reason can it be for the seemingly constant onslaught of problems, nearly all those that we have no power to change.

Today, twenty four hours on, it is feeling, at least for me, a bit more manageable.  I am thinking that if we had never had to leave our home he would not have had a medical and this would still be happening, unseen and untreated.  It is a sobering thought.  Now, at least the doctors are on it, they can investigate and treat and in time all hopefully will be well.

A silver lining perhaps, in what has been a dreadful few months.  It makes me realise that the unexpected, is just what it sounds like, and from one unexpected event the rest is following.  Tears have been shed, so many this past few weeks it is unbelievable, but now we have to dry our eyes, put on a happy face and deal with what the future holds.

Four years ago tomorrow we married.  We said for better for worse, in sickness and health, and we meant it.  So, universe, bring it on.  We will be ok in the end, and if it isn’t ok, then it isn’t the end.


on feeling like a holiday and remembering it isn’t

Bank holiday weekend is almost done.  Unusually the sun has shone, the sky blue and it still feels like summer.  We have been busy.  More unpacking, some sorting and we are almost there.  Just one box and a million DVD’s to find homes for and it is finished.

We have pottered pleasantly around.  Gin o’clock on the decking with neighbours yesterday put us in holiday mode, and this afternoon we are just back from a walk along one of our very favourite beaches.  Watching the waves and soaking up the sun, this is what holidays are made for.

It was a very strange feeling to realise, as we did, on the shore this afternoon, that we are not on a lovely break.  That we are actually returning home to our place, and it was quite exciting.

You see, with all the turmoil and emotion of recent weeks, I had forgotten the feeling of walking along the beach with the sun on my back.  I had forgotten how much we love pottering in our garden and how sunny it is here.  I had lost my way.  This afternoon I remembered.

So, tomorrow is Tuesday, and we are off to the hospital, where someone will tell us exactly what is in store for my lovely hubby.  We shall find out if indeed he is broken hearted, and if so how they can fix him.  It is worrying, but at the same time it is just another hurdle and we are getting good at hurdles.

Later this week will be our wedding anniversary, and it is a good time to count my blessings.  I am ever grateful to that get together in London town, almost ten years ago, for it was there we found each other.  It is true to say we have faced many storms since then, but as I type I am watching him cutting the grass in our garden in the evening sunshine, and feeling very grateful for now.  There were times in my life when I could never have imagined this sort of contentment, and yes, despite the trauma, contentment is close to how I am feeling just now.

You  see it really is true that we cannot control what happens to us, but we are in control of what we do about things. Tonight, on a Bank Holiday Monday, I think we are finally doing ok.

on there and back again

it has been a funny old weekend, at the end of a funny old week, so that is probably apt.  Having started to settle in our new home, it was the day to head back to work. Friday traffic was on my side and I soon arrived at my best friends home.  We chatted a bit and soon I was off to do my job.  All was well, it was just as it always is.

Saturday dawned, and my planned day of fun with my gorgeous Granddaughter was thwarted by the rain. It poured down.  Undaunted we found indoor games and it was delightful.  We dashed out at lunchtime and dodged the showers in the park, I love how this tiny girl is in the world.  She assumes everyone will be her friend and is open and lovely to all the children she meets.  Introducing herself with a smile, she reminds me so much of my other gorgeous girl at that age.

Later, work is done and I am heading home.  It is quite a shock, this driving in the dark lark.  It has been a long time since I have had to do it and felt quite put out.  The bright headlights heading towards me were confusing, I drove slowly and eventually made it back home.

In truth I felt a little out of sorts.  Seemed the difference between old and new was blurred and for a while I was unsettled again.  I guess I shall get used to this.

Midnight and my gorgeous girl is on the phone.  She is waiting at a Spanish airport for a dawn flight.  She is in a city that has seen trouble this week, and she is very aware of the police and the guns around. Mostly she is annoyed at the lack of plugs.  Don’t they realised she needs to feed her phone battery?  Luckily she finds a plug in the Baby Change room.  There are very few, if any, babies in the airport at 1 am so she settled in, only to be disturbed by a knock on the door.  She has made herself comfortable it seemed and it took her a while to make her exit, apologising profusely and with smiles!  She does make me laugh.

We talk for an hour, she updates me on her travels so far. We laugh a lot, my girl and I.  I miss her when she is off doing her thing, but I am so happy she can do so.  I say goodnight, and go to sleep, when I awake she is already in another country, on another adventure.

Seems to me we are all on a journey.  Some of us don’t even notice the daily movement through life, instead we busy ourselves with things that probably don’t matter at all.  I have been awakened to the notion of this travel, of moving from place to place and adjusting to each new situation.  In time I know I shall be grateful for this experience, I truly have learned so very much.  Mostly I have learned that where ever we are we are still ourselves.  It is our sense of self and how we relate to the world that comes with us.

So, no matter if we are three years old in a playground in the rain, or uprooting our world for pastures new, it is all made easier if done with an open heart and a smile, we are all moving there and back again, I am just noticing it all so much more.  All will be well, indeed it already is.

on getting on with life

so today is the end of the week, I have been here since Monday,  and have spent my days unpacking boxes, filling bags for charity shops, and settling into this corner of Wales. Luckily the weather has been kind, long days filled with sunshine have been joined by night time rain, the perfect summer weather.  The garden is looking good, yesterday I cut the grass, providing a welcome respite from those boxes.

Today I am heading back to my old home town.  Each weekend I shall continue to work as before, at least until this job is done.  Good friends are letting me stay with them and all will be well.  I am wondering how it will feel, I guess I shall shortly be finding out.

The other big appointment today is for hubby.  The health problem that almost scuppered our move is to begin to be addressed this afternoon.  Sadly, the timings and distance mean I can’t be with him this time, but hopefully as this is the start of the process he will be fine without me. I shall be anxious, and hope that whatever it is, it is fixable.

It is fair to say that the past three months have been difficult, one thing after another throughout July almost finished us off.  I am glad to say it didn’t succeed, and we are still here.  It is testament to the strength of us, my hubby and I, that we got through this together.  Whenever one of us, (mostly me) was losing the plot, the other’s calm and hopeful determination saw us through.

We still have no clue what life will bring, but then again, no one really does, do they? What we do know, and one of dozens of lessons I have learned through this, is that nothing is as bad as it appears as long as we face it together, and make it work.

on getting by with a little help from my friends

things are progressing, boxes are being packed, charity shops are benefiting as there are lots of things we don’t need. In truth I enjoy the process of decluttering and reorganising our possessions, even if it is tricky this time.

Yesterday I didn’t cry, not even once, a first I think in many days and weeks. Perhaps I am resigned to this process, I am finally accepting that we will no longer have a home here in this town.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that having friends around is helping so much.  I spent time with three people yesterday, and each, in their own way offered help and support.  Humour too.  I have learned that filling boxes is much easier with someone alongside you.  I have learned that sharing stories of past situations makes me realise that all things will pass.  I am also considering the possessions we have, and my feeling is that it is all just stuff.  Stuff that is useful, stuff that holds memories, stuff that is replaceable.  All stuff.  None of it really matters at all.

It seems to me that lessons are being learned.  Perhaps the universe is showing me to how live my life in a better way. Maybe I needed to have a word with myself, I was too complacent perhaps, taking things for granted. I am remembering the people I have supported over the years who have been without a home.  Yes, I tried my best, but I had not a clue how it actually feels, how they must have been feeling, to be vulnerable and uncertain.  In my sixty years on this earth I have never known this, so I have to reflect how fortunate I have been.  I had a settled childhood, with a lovely home, then I have brought my children to adulthood always with a secure place to live.  We have chosen our homes, with care, making sure it was right for us, and I have always been able to furnish it as we please. There has mostly always been food in the fridge and enough money (sometimes, in the overdraft) to allow us to live comfortably. All that time I had no idea what a gift this is.  Until now.  The feeling of powerlessness, the feeling of uncertainty is at times overwhelming. It is as if the world has slipped on its axis and I have my shoes on the wrong feet.  I simply have not been able to ‘get a grip’.  It has taken the support of many people, all offering to hold my hand, to steady the ship to calm waters, for once in my life I couldn’t do this on my own.

I have learned that my old Auntie was right when she said ‘a little help is better than a lot of pity’ .  A lot of help is better again.

Today there is still much to do, we are on a countdown, 96 hours left, but I know I can do this, I can get by with a little help from my friends.

on my girls

today is a big day for both of my girls.  One is having her third birthday, wrapped up in love and presents, cards and cake, she takes it all in her stride.  Grown from the tiny baby into a confident and clever little person, you can really get a sense of who she will be in adult life.  She smiles a lot.  She isn’t good at doing things she doesn’t like, and she really, really loves her Mum and Dad.

There is something magical about watching your baby with their baby.  As I see her hanging onto her Dad, I have a clear memory of him, aged three, also taking the world by storm,he too was funny and clever and not good at doing things he didn’t like to do.  It is a funny thing this parenting.

My big girl is off on her adventures again today.  I should be getting used to this, I am getting used to this.  I am proud of her, the way she is grabbing life and living it her way.  A  Winter and Spring working hard to save, is giving her the chance for a summer in the sunshine.  Her mood is infectious, her smile lights up the world.

As we are driving towards the airport we are listening to tunes from both our childhoods and teenage years.  As ever she introduces me to new songs, and I share some old favourites.  We have very similar taste in music, we both love lyrics and a good loud band.  Songs that sing of struggles and of real life always go down well.  The journey passes quickly.

Along the way I tell her how proud I am of her, how I love it that so many different people want to be her friend.  She tells me it is cos she loves people, and this is true.  I say that given the past couple of months I am going to try to be more selfish, to stop reaching out and to concentrate on myself.  My girl is not happy.  She tells me I must never give up loving people and wanting to help, because, she says, that is actually all that really matters.  Ever.

Soon I am battling airport traffic to deposit her at the terminal, we park up and she grabs her rucksack from the boot, it is almost as big as she is. We have the biggest hug and then smiling she is off.  Off to somewhere she has people she loves, to start this summer in a familiar place.  Then, she has plans to go further afield, to find new friends and new adventures.

I am home again now, having had half a dozen text messages, letting me know she is thinking of me.  I am feeling so lucky to have raised her.  She is strong and beautiful and most of all she understands what is really important in this world.  I hope that one day my boy will feel the pride of watching his girl take on the world.  To know that one you love is loved by others is a wonderful gift, that you have done a good job, and that your baby can take care of herself and make her life her own.

Safe travels gorgeous girl, take your smile and your laughter wherever you go, make good choices and be true to yourself.  The world is lucky to have you in it.



on days of future past

today was a better day, a much better day.  Despite being exhausted and wanting to stay home, I went, as promised, with my daughter to see her Grandparents in their home city.  They are lovely people, still shocked from the loss of their son, her Dad, so suddenly, they get great joy from seeing our gorgeous girl.

As ever these visits have a pattern.  Granddad buys us all lunch, and we have to have pudding too!!  Then we hit the shops, this time for last minute items for her trip this week.  We love this city, so many funny and kind people all around, we potter about.  Soon it is time for a cuppa, and the sun is shining bright and warm.  I head for a place that has long been a favourite.  A garden in the middle of a city, surrounded by a building that has always had its roots in art.  I remember sitting there, the same age as my daughter is now, lunch times from busy office jobs, and a grabbed half hour of peace and a sandwich.  It is almost the same as it ever was, and we sit, happy in each others company, and the sunshine on our faces.

Later we head for the train, Grandparents head to the shops and then home and we walk up the hill.  We need to pop to a shop and head into a station, I have an idea.  We carry on up the street towards the place I worked when I was pregnant with my girl.  I show her the building, it is much the same as it was, can it really be almost twenty three years ago??

We stop in a bar, which is situated on a spot close to where I used to park my car, it was mostly derelict land back then,  and now buildings have sprung up all around.  It is joyful and vibrant.  We chat to a lovely young women from Northern Ireland, supplementing her teachers pay with summer holiday work, and sip our cocktails.  A photo is taken, I am trying to avoid the sun in my eyes and am captured looking happy and a bit wobbly.  I realise I am feeling happy, the sunshine, the familiar environment and my girl with me all are working magic.

As we continue back towards the station I realise we are close to a very special pub.  A back street bar, with a rockers juke box, it was a favourite back in the day.  It is still there, in the midst of the trendy bars, and as we peer inside we can hear AC/DC coming from speakers.  On a Monday afternoon.  Back then all the boys had long hair, denim and leather jackets were the uniform. We go inside, nothing has changed at all.  The bar is exactly the same, and all the men, for it is mostly all men there, still have long hair, except those who are bald.  Everyone of them is at least my age.  I am struck for a moment with the thought that they have been here all the time.  The twenty five years I have been away, they have been at the bar, drinking Newcastle Brown, and getting older.  It is amazing and in truth a little disconcerting.  We take our seats at the bar and I am able to tell my girl that I am sitting in exactly the spot I was in when I first met her Dad.  Somehow this feels really good, my girl is laughing a lot, saying she knows now why she loves dodgy back street pubs.  She takes lots of photos, and is Snapchatting them all to her mates, we half drink our beer and take our leave.  I think we are both glad we called in to this piece of our past, that was actually the beginning of her future.

This has been a good day, it has been great to connect again with family, and is always lovely to spend time with my girl.  She is off on her travels again this week, and for the first time ever, she won’t have our home to come back to, this is odd and difficult for me, but somehow today, it feels better.

I think in going back I have remembered how it is possible to go forwards.  That we have no control over what this universe throws our way, but we have absolute control about how we deal with it.  It all seems a little easier tonight, we can do this, and we shall do it.  All will be well.

on when it is all getting too much

Hubby is home, today is his day off and he has come back to help me pack up this house.  I thought I was doing well, but there are so many decisions to be made it is making my head hurt.

How do we have so much stuff?  It is a mystery to me, we moved here just over three years ago, and only brought exactly what we needed.  It is a continual surprise to find so many items and a huge challenge to know what to do with them

This morning in the kitchen it all got too much.   I really, really don’t want to be leaving here, I love this little house, the one that has driven me crazy as its small rooms are never quite big enough, but where I thought I was secure.  I thought I was making a forever home, well at least a for the foreseeable future home.  I cannot get my head around how fast all this has happened and it is actually breaking my heart.

Brave face on daily, I joke about moving on, looking forward to a life in our lovely place.  I am celebrating Hubby’s good fortune in finding a job he is clearly going to love, what is not to like?  Inside I am so sad.

To cheer us we have booked a weekend in Hubby’s home town for Autumn time.  We shall take part in a sponsored walk, which will be fun, and it has made me think,.   I spend so much time doing stuff I don’t have to do. I love the work we have done to support refugees, but if I think about the hours and hours I have spent on this, I am left wondering why?  I look at other people, who selfishly wander around the world, pleasing themselves.  Why don’t I do that?  Why am I brokenhearted not to be able to keep a home for my adult children, all of whom are very capable of taking care of themselves and why am I the one everyone seems to lean on, and where are they now?

A conversation this morning really hit home.  I asked for a bit of help, something I never do, and was rebutted harshly.  Not because the person I asked is horrid or because what I asked was a big thing, just because, at that moment that was reaction.  I felt upset, but then I worked out that the help I needed wasn’t even for me, it was for my daughter, and I need to let her sort herself out.  I know the person I asked will help and that they didn’t even know how much they hurt me, all will be well.  I have just never felt so powerless and rubbish.

Enough of the self pity, Mum would be furious with me, big girls pants need to go back on.  Trouble is I have no idea where they are, and even if they still fit me.  Right now it is actually all too much.

on being almost three

back in my home town today I am ready to finish the packing and sorting.  Hubby is ok on his own, working in our new place, and it is up to me to get on with stuff here.

So, as we settled in for a bit of lunch and a chat, it was fabulous to get a visit from my daughter in law, and my gorgeous Granddaughter.  Coming in through the back door they call hello, we are pleased to see them, always.  My daughter is snoozing on the sofa, a late night last night has left her a little worse for wear today.  All my favourite female family in one room, I am blessed.

Next week the littlest member of our family will have a birthday, it is almost three years since we met for the first time, and this tiny baby is growing into a gorgeous little girl.  She is a great mix of her parents.  She has her Dad’s thought processes and her Mum’s sense of fun, and she has inherited stubbornness from both of them.  When our girl does not want to do something she is determined not to.  Mostly she is easy going, happy to get involved with adventures and with life’s tasks, however, when she says NO she means it.  She did not want to come and join in the chat with Nana, she was not coming into the living room today.

The battle of wills is tricky, not wanting to teach her the wrong things we decide to ignore bad behaviour in the hope she will get fed up.  Not this time.  This tiny person has tenacity.  Eventually all is calm, she is smiling again, and we are all relieved.

It struck me later that this tenacity is a good thing and will probably serve her well.  The ability to stick to what you think is right, despite adversity is often useful in all sorts of experiences.  The might of the tiny one, harnessed, could surely power the world.

We settle to watch a film, a new cartoon adventure in which the wayward daughter sails the forbidden seas and saves her people.  This delights me, as in my day it would always have been the son, the boys who had the adventures.  I love that there are these role models for girls.  It also struck me that the hero of this film would also have been standing in the kitchen not moving until she chose to, and how good this is.

I was a girl who wanted adventures, always.  I was also the girl wrapped in so much love I was seldom allowed to move from Mum’s side.  I would never have stood my ground at almost three, but certainly by teen years I was ready to grab the world and see what it could bring.  My poor Mum didn’t know what to do with me. So, looking at my Granddaughter, watching her stamp her mark on the world, was wonderful.  I hope she keeps her sense of self, and that she always gets to make her own choices.

One of the things I am dreading about our new life is being so far from this little family, no longer will I bump into them at the park, or see her little face coming up the path.  Instead I shall spend a whole day each week with her, we will have adventures and fun, cuddles and kisses, it will be fine.  All shall be well.


on new beginnings

the job is a good one, Hubby is happy, there are nice people and good working conditions, all is well.  This is a great relief to us both.  So, now, home alone I have a taste of how it is going to be.

Yesterday started well, a brisk walk down to the sea in milky sunshine set me up for the day.  Stopping to say hello to dog walkers and joggers, I love the early mornings along this beach.  People are at once purposeful and also reflective.  I am thinking about how things are turning out and in truth, feeling better for the first time in a long time.

Back home I set about sorting out.  Cupboards are emptied and contents sorted, kitchen equipment moved to new places, it feels ok.  I decide to put the towels on the line to blow in the sun and gentle wind coming in from the hills. There is something about washing on a line that says home.  Then I baked a cake.  We were having a visitor, and I know she loves cake.

She arrived mid afternoon, looking gorgeous, this women I have known since she was born.  My (almost) niece makes her home on the other side of the world these days.  Back for summer celebrations it is a delight to see her and spend a bit of time together.  Cake is cut, tea is brewed and we catch up, I am thinking how much better it is to sit beside her rather than see her through a screen.  Online talking is great with a world between us, but a real life chat and a hug is the best of all.Later Hubby is home, full of news about his day and they hug, this gorgeous girl and him are great pals.

It occurs to me that world is not as big at it once seemed.  A childhood friend of mine emigrated to Canada, another to New Zealand, they were instantly lost to us, a couple of air mail letters arrived and then nothing.   People went and never came back.  That was how the world was back in the day.  How brave it must have been to take that leap, to chose a new life, in a different place, I wonder how it felt?

So, this morning I have awoken to rain, Hubby has gone to work, Day Two does not in itself seems as exciting or important as Day One.  Day Two feels like the beginning of real life.  I am wondering what to make of a day in the rain, perhaps I will use the time usefully, write a bit, sort out finances and do the silly jobs that get forgotten. Or perhaps I shall don my raincoat and go and walk by the sea.

I love being on the shore in the wind and rain, I love the feeling of things being as they should be, that there are some things humans cannot control.  The tides will come and go as they have always done, that this very sea, this sea is the same as that of my childhood, lapping the shore as I walked, again, in the rain. How quickly time has passed, I am reminded that today is at once, just another day, one of hundreds of rainy days in a lifetime, and again a new chance to get things right.   it is up to me how I spend it.